Sydney Skov + Free Body Project
Sydney Skov, the Founder of Free Body Project, grew up in Portland, Oregon and has since lived and left parts of her heart in New York City, Paris, Dakar, Boston, Kolkata and San Francisco. She's danced for as long as she can remember. She's established a reputation as "that girl" who's always talking about women's rights and global human rights abuses with too much passion. She softens this edge with her bizarre gift of busting out awkward dance moves at any given moment.
Why do you do what you do?
There are a few ways to answer this question. One way is this: there is a huge need for accessible trauma care across the world, especially for vulnerable populations including but not limited to survivors of human trafficking, survivors of violence and abuse, survivors of violent conflict, and youth growing up in extreme poverty. Dance and movement, when used sensitively, are particularly powerful tools to support healing, expression and empowerment. There are organizations around the world doing just this, using dance and movement to help individuals change their own lives, yet work at the intersection of dance and social justice is widely misunderstood and lacks a cohesive support network. In working with nonprofits pioneering this field, I recognized a need to build an ecosystem for global dance and social justice. This is what I am attempting to accomplish through Free Body Project.
Another way to answer the question is this: in our crazy world, movement is one of the only things that makes sense to me. We all use our bodies to move and express- we all dance and when we dance, we experience joy. We feel connected to our communities, our histories, our present and each other. When we dance, we feel free.
What is the best compliment you've ever received?
The day after I met the man who is now my partner, we said goodbye and parted ways. We were both traveling through Thailand and had spent 36 hours together, having met at dinner with a group of solo travelers. He left to continue his journey and I expected it to end there. An hour later he sent me a message which read, "my mind is blown that I met you." This message strung into what has become the longest and best compliment I've ever received: his dedication to seeing me and appreciating me for all that I am.
Where do you thrive?
Sitting on a bench on a street somewhere in the world, probably sweating in the heat, drinking milky tea and chatting with strangers in a mix of languages and gestures.
What's one bad habit you can't seem to shake?
I'm addicted to television. It's a huge time and energy suck. While I don't go on Netflix binges (anymore) and I've reigned in my consumption quite a bit because my partner doesn't watch TV (which has led me to realize how much more calm and quiet the world is without that noise), I do love a good, engaging TV show.
What's the best idea you've heard recently?
"Let's spend Sunday at the nude beach."
What's the biggest lesson you learned this past year?
The doubt I feel at times is something that most of us feel; we are not alone in our worries, internal struggles and distractions. I have also learned to accept what I am not which is liberating.
You can follow Free Body Project on Instagram and Facebook.